Now more than ever it is imperative that all Californians do what they can to help preserve and protect our beautiful state from the dangers of careless human activity. As most of us sit by and watch helplessly as the nearly dozen wildfires continue to devastate areas of Northern California, we are left wondering what we can do to help in times like these.
In addition to donating your time and money to help those in need, what you can also do to help our climate in general is to make changes to how you camp and experience nature by reducing your carbon footprint with the following eco-friendly camping tips:

When you leave the camping spot it should look as if you were never there:

  • Observe the boundaries set by the campsites, don’t forge your own path through wild areas to make a site yourself: One of the main points of camping is definitely to submerge oneself in nature but responsible campers always abide by the restrictions and limitations set by the campsites and state officials, including those pertaining to areas where camping is permitted and not permitted, so there is never really a need for you to bushwhack your way through undisturbed wildlife in order to get a secluded or private spot.
  •  What you take in, you take out: One of the principals of responsible RV camping is simply that you should leave no trace; respect the natural state of things as they are when you arrive by taking everything with you when you leave, and removing all trash and any trace that you were there at all. Be mindful of things like not breaking branches off trees and disturbing animal nesting grounds too.
  • Maintain a respectful distance from wildlife: It is wonderful to appreciate the beauty of wild animals from afar but it starts to become a problem when we thread upon their territory or try and engage with them physically by freighting them or getting too close. It’s also important to remember to respect all signs and designated protected areas.

Respect the elements: Fire and Water

  • Practice fire safety: No matter where you are having your fire, you must always be vigilant when using fire in the open land in California, which means that you always abide by the local fire restrictions and that you have enough water nearby, or an extinguisher, if the fire gets out of hand. Remember to use only the existing fire rings, use a fire pan or build a mound fire. Once you are done, you need to let the fire burn the wood down to a fine ash before pouring water on it, or dirt if you don’t have any water, before leaving the scene.
  • Tricks many campers will use to save water while RV camping include:
    • Filling the basin of the sink with water in order to shave instead constantly turning the faucet on and off.
    • After eating meals on dish ware which is to be washed scrape off any remaining food into the trash prior to rinsing them off in the sink in order to reduce to amount of water necessary to clean the dishes.
    • When out hiking for the day or when outside of the RV for the majority of the day, always remember to temporarily turn the water heater to a low setting, thus reducing the amount of heat and therefore water being wasted.

With the use of common sense camping tips like the ones above and a little more conscientious behavior from all Californians, hopefully we can all strive to reduce the carbon footprint we leave behind.